An online dictionary, describes “Parenting” as the process of raising and educating a child from birth to adulthood. Going by this simple definition, we can logically begin this discussion by noting that the dynamism in human nature; its changes and challenges in the contemporary world have made raising and educating a child a daunting task.
This is even plausible in today’s digital-driven society where parents are constantly faced with myriads of influences. These influences which ranges from social, cultural and religious often than not present themselves as varied possible options upon which training a child rests.
Parenting is the responsibility of both the father and mother and because the child learns through them the act of doing, touching and experiencing, his needs for love, security, relationship, nurturing and sense of belonging remain the same. Again as a mother experience has shown that the struggle for parents to give their child the best in life, sometimes hit the rock as they fail to teach the child the basic rules like how to love and respect others around him. Building a strong bond through parent/child relationship is a platform for parents to focus on. Here are some tips to help parents:
In the face of the perennial economic hardship in the country, parents tend to work all days including weekends so as to meet up with the family demands. Of course this life pattern always comes with its ugly consequences of leaving the child at the mercy of house helps who eventually dictate the mental and moral direction of the child. This is sad because while the parents, round the clock, preoccupy themselves with the single notion of how to make ends meet, their child most probably is being nurtured in a manner that may endanger the entire family.
To put things in good perspective, it is therefore pertinent that parents in spite of their tight schedules learn how to create ample opportunity for child-parent-timeout. Weekends and other work-free days could be classic moments for such engagements. Activities such as watching television programs together, playing and having family discussions, eating with the child, taking him/her out for a walk or sightseeing, telling stories etc, remain veritable means of raising up a morally sound child. It is through these avenues that parents are able to identify the child’s abilities and strengths as well as fears and weaknesses which may require immediate parental attention and early correction.
“A family that prays together stays together. As Christians, to maintain this age long aphorism, it behooves parents to teach their child the way of the Lord by going to church, reading the scriptures and at the same time identifying themselves with other religious activities. Teaching the child how to pray helps greatly not only in his spiritual growth, but also the acts of kindness, meekness, humility etc. These are vital methods of introducing the child to Jesus and reinforcing his relationship with God. Teaching the child the need to communicate with God in prayers, and let him see reasons why he should do so helps him understand that God is always close and easily accessible.
This comes in the purview of helping the child learn how to behave appropriately. Parents can use a range of discipline strategies to teach their child the basics of good behavior. For instance, using the cane for a child’s misdemeanor should be seen as a corrective measure rather than avenue to vent frustration or aggression. Parents must reduce the urge to use harsh and negative words on their child in order not to put fear in them and reduce their self esteem. Parents can also set limits and consequences for a child’s behavior, while also encouraging good behavior with praise and rewards.
Our cultural values:
our culture is our identity that embodies our norms and values. Parents must take it upon themselves to inculcate morals and cultural values in their children in order to preserve the unity and cultural heritage for the younger generations. The cultural values shape the child’s character and help him to relate well with his pears. This bothers greatly on teaching, speaking and writing the native language. Others include the way we make use of our local foods, dress codes and attention parents give certain social events are ways the child could be encouraged and inculcated into his cultural values.
Parenting requires a lot of patience, understanding, discipline, love and above all the grace of God to set the right standards for the child to emulate. It shouldn’t be about competition, affluence, beauty and pride rather being proud of responsible and God fearing family with good moral values. Parents should also be role models to their child as the scripture tells us “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22: 6).